Dr. Esther Rumsey is the Director of the Office of International Studies. She was previously the Chair the Department of Fine Arts & Communication and a professor of Communication. She is a real world traveler. She traveled a lot in the United States growing up, because her family moved often. Her visit to Hawaii two years ago completed stops in all 50 states. Since coming to Sul Ross in 2001, Dr. Rumsey has added international travel to Australia, South Africa, Europe, and China. Just recently, she visited India with Fulbright group.
Interviewer: Why did you go on the trip to India?
Dr. Rumsey: This trip was through the State Department’s Fulbright Program for the International Education Administrators seminar.
Interviewer: What is the Fulbright Program?
Dr. Rumsey: The Fulbright program is a State Department program meant to increase collaboration between the education systems of different countries with improved knowledge and understanding of their education cultures.
Interviewer: What did you do during this trip?
Dr. Rumsey: we visited 4 cities and 14 Indian universities, including the University of Mumbai, which has 700,000 students and 800 affiliated schools. We also visited historical sites like the Taj Mahal.
Interviewer: What does it mean for a school to be affiliated in India?
Dr. Rumsey: Think about the system we have here. For example, UTSA is connected to UT Austin. It is similar to that, but there is a much more rigid adherence to the curriculum of the main school. If an affiliated school wants to change anything in their curriculum, they have to appeal to the main school, which will review the request. If they accept the change, all the affiliated schools must also change their curriculum.
Interviewer: You said the trip was to learn about the culture in India. Could you give me an example?
Dr. Rumsey: the dorms in India have six people in one room, but they also have rooms for non-natives that are two people in a room. When they asked the Indian students to live in the two person rooms they declined, because they found those rooms to be lonely. They have culture of the crowded cities in India, and they expect to live close to one another.
Interviewer: You said that you also visited some historical sites in India could you tell me more about that.
Dr. Rumsey: We visited the Taj Mahal and some fifteenth century Muslim forts. The forts were very interesting because they were very different from the forts here in Texas. The Muslim leaders and royalty actually lived in these forts and used them as their palaces. Because they were used as palaces, these forts were very ornately decorated and you can still see some of that decoration today.
Interviewed by Peter Poulsen